Sunday, August 23, 2015

What's Your Sending Capacity?

Gaining By Losing: Why the Future Belongs To Churches Who Send, by J. D. Greear - A Book Review

This is a fascinating, compelling book with the thesis that churches and church growth should not be measured by seating capacity (numerical growth) but by sending capacity (church planting). He believes that "the church that sends the most, wins the most," and that every church should be sending out disciples (and releasing proven leaders) to plant new churches, locally and internationally.

Greear is Senior Pastor of the Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, NC. He and his church are living out the message of this book, in that Summit Church has sent out over 500 people to plant 113 new churches as of the writing of this book. He also brings a unique perspective to the concept of missional living from having previously lived and ministered in a Muslim country.

The book emphasizes that a spiritual culture of sending, and "gaining by loosing," depends on a commitment to not just getting members or attenders, but building disciples. Christian disciples learn to live like Jesus, and Jesus served the Father by giving himself for others. The principle of resurrection, dying in order to live, applies to churches as well as individuals. He believes "our God is a sending God," and that therefore we should be sending people.

The text is structured around 10 "plumb lines,"i.e. culture defining statements about what it means to be a discipling and sending church.The book is an easy read in terms of language, format and style, but a tough read in terms of the challenge it makes to the readers' personal discipleship commitment. It is also a significant challenge to pastors and elders of churches to change their community culture to disciple making and sending. In that way, it reminds me of David Platt's Radical and Radical Together.

Gaining By Loosing is a good read, and I recommend it for your consideration.
(I received a free copy of this book for review purposes, but that does not influence my opinion. See my book review policy)